Tearing at the Very Fabric of the Constitution

From The Patriot Post:

Barack Obama claims to be a “professor of constitutional law,” but a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has offered severe criticism of Obama’s “über presidency,” his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.

When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond “to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration,” Turley responded, “This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers.”

In July, Turley gave congressional testimony concerning Obama’s abuse of executive orders: “When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There’s no license for going it alone in our system, and what he’s done is very problematic. He’s told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic.”

He continued: “Our system is changing in a dangerous and destabilizing way. What’s emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. … The president’s pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming but what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. … Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. … What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I think the framers would be horrified. … We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. … No one in our system can ‘go it alone’ – not Congress, not the courts, and not the president.”

Turley reiterated this week: “[Obama has] become a government of one. … It’s becoming a particularly dangerous moment if the president is going to go forward, particularly after this election, to defy the will of Congress yet again. … What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution. We have a separation of powers … to protect Liberty, to keep any branch from assuming so much authority that they become a threat to Liberty. … The Democrats are creating something very, very dangerous. They’re creating a president who can go it alone – the very danger that are framers sought to avoid in our Constitution. … I hope he does not get away with it.”

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Obama(care)’s Pack of Lies

From Charles Krauthammer:

It’s not exactly the Ems Dispatch (the diplomatic cable Bismarck doctored to provoke the 1870 Franco​–​Prussian War). But what the just-resurfaced Gruber Confession lacks in world-historical consequence, it makes up for in world-class cynicism. This October 2013 video shows MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare, admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure and deceptive. It constitutes the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

First, Gruber said, the bill’s authors manipulated the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which issues gold-standard cost estimates of any legislative proposal: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes.” Why? Because “if CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” And yet, the president himself openly insisted that the individual mandate — what you must pay the government if you fail to buy health insurance — was not a tax.

Worse was the pretense that Obamacare wouldn’t cost anyone anything. On the contrary, it’s a win–win, insisted President Obama, promising that the “typical family” would save $2,500 on premiums every year.

Skeptics like me pointed out the obvious: You can’t subsidize 30 million uninsured without someone paying something. Indeed, Gruber admits, Obamacare was a huge transfer of wealth — which had to be hidden from the American people, because “if you had a law which . . . made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.”

Remember: The whole premise of Obamacare was that it would help the needy, but if you were not in need, if you liked what you had, you would be left alone. Which is why Obama kept repeating — Politifact counted 31 times — that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

But of course you couldn’t, as millions discovered when they were kicked off their plans last year. Millions more were further shocked when they discovered major hikes in their premiums and deductibles. It was their wealth that was being redistributed.

As NBC News and others reported last year, the administration knew this all along. But White House political hands overrode those wary about the president’s phony promise. In fact, Obama knew the falsity of his claim as far back as February 2010 when, at a meeting with congressional leaders, he agreed that millions would lose their plans.

Now, it’s not unconstitutional to lie. But it is helpful for citizens to know the cynicism with which the massive federalization of their health care was crafted.

It gets even worse, thanks again to Gruber. Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case claiming that the administration is violating its own health-care law, which clearly specifies that subsidies can be given only to insurance purchased on “exchanges established by the state.” Just 13 states have set up such exchanges. Yet the administration is giving tax credits to plans bought on the federal exchange — serving 37 states — despite what the law says.

If the government loses, the subsidy system collapses and, with it, Obamacare itself. Which is why the administration is frantically arguing that “exchanges established by the state” is merely sloppy drafting, a kind of legislative typo. And that the intent all along was to subsidize all plans on all exchanges.

Reenter professor Gruber. On a separate video in a different speech, he explains what Obamacare intended: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” The legislative idea was to coerce states into setting up their own exchanges by otherwise denying their citizens subsidies.

This may have been a stupid idea, but it was no slip. And it’s the law, as written, as enacted and as intended. It can be changed by Congress only, not by the executive. Which is precisely what the plaintiffs are saying. Q.E.D.

It’s refreshing that “the most transparent administration in history,” as this administration fancies itself, should finally display candor about its signature act of social change. Inadvertently, of course. But now we know what lay behind Obama’s smooth reassurances — the arrogance of an academic liberalism that rules in the name of a citizenry it mocks, disdains, and deliberately, contemptuously deceives.

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Tom McClintock on the Propositions

Representative Tom McClintock’s recommendations for the November 2014 California ballot propositions:

Prop 1 – Water Bond: YES. This is a long way from a perfect measure, but it’s as good as it gets in California these days: a $7.5 billion water bond that spends $2.7 billion for new water storage. If that sounds breathtakingly underwhelming, remember that’s $2.7 billion more than the multi-billions of dollars of water bonds that we’ve spent in recent years. Sadly, it doesn’t overhaul the environmental laws that vastly inflate costs and it squanders a great deal more that won’t be used for storage, but it is a step away from the lunacy of the green left (that adamantly opposes it) and this alone merits support.

Prop 2 – Stop Us Before We Screw Up Again: YES. This repeals Prop 58, a vat of Schwarzenegger snake-oil sold to voters as the panacea to the state’s budget woes. It wasn’t. (My I-told-you-so moment). Prop 58 promised an iron-clad reserve, but in reality, the governor could suspend it any time he wanted. He did. (Oops, I did it again). What I like most about Prop 2 is that to raid the required budget reserve, both the governor AND the legislature must agree and then, only for a specifically declared emergency. In a nutshell, it requires the legislature and governor to do what they did voluntarily during the Deukmejian era. Still plenty of loopholes, but better than what we have today.

Prop 45 – If You Thought Obamacare Was Bad: NO. This is a trial lawyers measure that give the state insurance commissioner the power to set health care rates. Sound good? Doctors and other health care providers are already opting out of Obamacare because of artificially low rates; this compounds the problem for California. The good news it you’ll have cheap health insurance. The bad news is you won’t have a lot of providers accepting it.

Prop 46 – If You Thought Prop 45 Was Bad: NO. Another trial lawyers measure that quadruples the amount they can get for pain and suffering awards. Prop. 45 means lower provider reimbursements and Prop. 46 means higher provider costs. It also requires drug testing for doctors, which is a stupid idea but I appreciate the poetic justice in making THEM pee into little cups for a change. Anyway, it won’t matter because your doctor will be out of state.

Prop 47 – Rose Bird’s Revenge: NO. We’ve gone overboard on some drug-related offenses, but this Proposition can only be described as a drug-induced hallucination. It reduces many grand-theft crimes to misdemeanors and would release an estimated 10,000 incarcerated criminals back on the streets. Basically, it is a burglar’s get-out-of-jail free card. Good news for alarm companies and the handful of 60’s radicals nostalgic for Rose Bird – bad news for the rest of us. Hide the silver.

Prop 48 – Freedom Works: YES. This ratifies Indian Gaming compacts for two tribes in economically depressed regions of the state that will be an economic boon to the struggling local communities there. It also cuts through environmental red tape that would otherwise delay these projects for years.

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The Farce

From VDH:

It was tragically comical that the commander in chief in just a few weeks could go from referring to ISIS as “jayvee” and a manageable problem to declaring it an existential threat, in the same manner he upgraded the Free Syrian Army from amateurs and a fantasy to our ground linchpin in the new air war. All that tragic comedy was a continuance of his previous untruths, such as the assurance that existing health plans and doctors would not change under the Affordable Care Act or that there was not a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS.

But lately the Obama confusion has descended into the territory not of tragedy or even tragic comedy, but rather of outright farce.

Last week we learned from the Washington Post that an investigator looking into the Secret Service prostitution scandal was ordered by the inspector general “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.” The “embarrassing” information was the allegation that a member of the White House staff advance team had solicited a prostitute while prepping Obama’s Colombia visit — a fact denied by then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in April 2012, when he assured the press that no one from the White House was involved in the scandal that brought down lots of Secret Service and military personnel.

But here is where the farcical kicks in. The squelched investigation was focused on White House staffer Jonathan Dach. And who is Dach? He was at the time a young Yale law student and White House staffer, and is now a State Department activist working on — what else? — “Global Women’s Issues.”

And how did young Jonathan Dach at the ripe age of 25 years land such a prestigious job as a presidential advance man? His father, Leslie Dach, was a lobbyist who gave the Obama campaign $23,900 and was later hired on to work with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. And, of course, Leslie Dach now has left his job lobbying for Wal-Mart. And where does he work now? For the Obama administration. Promoting what? Obamacare.

Here is the essence of the Obama administration’s abyss between word and deed: in the age of the war on women and the end to lobbyists in government, the feminist young aide is alleged to have solicited a prostitute; the most transparent administration in memory covered that fact up during the reelection campaign; the president who promised to end the revolving door and ban lobbyists from government hired not just a one-percenter lobbyist and donor, but his randy son as well.

Can it get much richer than that? Unfortunately, it can — literally, as we’ll explore on the next page.

Recently, Barack Obama offered yet another fundraiser to his small circle of billionaires at the 20-acre gated estate of — again, this is no joke — Rich Richman. Some of Richy Rich’s bundled donors paid over $32,000 to see and touch Obama, who lectured the assembled Connecticut one percent of the one percent. And what did he lecture them on? Of course on “billionaires” and their mean war on the middle class.

Not long ago President Obama flew into Fresno, Ground Zero of the California drought. Did he offer federal help for more dam, canal, and reservoir construction? Hardly. Did he offer to help build coastal desalination plants? Nope.

Instead, he gave a brief lecture about global warming and offered $160 million in aid to ameliorate its effects, although almost all California climatologists associate the state’s unusual three-year drought with oceanic and atmospheric conditions unrelated to climate change, especially given the fact that the planet at large has not heated up in the last 18 years.

After briefly stopping in Fresno for a few hours, where did Barack Obama go next to emphasize the global-warming roots of our drought, and the irrelevancy of building more storage space to mitigate the atypical absence of snow and rain?

Naturally, he jetted in to see Jordan’s king at one of the most artificial environments in the world — verdant Rancho Mirage in the scorching Palm Springs area desert, an artificial landscape entirely irrigated through vast manmade water transfers via canals from the Colorado River. And why did Obama detour to such a landscape incongruous with the drought-stricken state? To play more golf, reminding us that while new reservoirs are not needed, and while burning carbon fuels is the culprit, golf courses in the middle of deserts are perfectly natural destinations for climate-change believers who arrive on huge jets to putt on irrigated greens for a few hours. Rumors then flew that Obama so liked Rancho Mirage’s drought-proof, irrigated attractions that he pondered retiring at a gated estate there.

Why such farce? We have forgotten two truths about the Obama administration. No president in recent memory has so hectored the American people on the dangers of elites, and no president in the last half-century has so enjoyed the perks and culture of the elite. Unfortunately, this is not just mindless hypocrisy, but rather calibrated medieval exemption: the more Barack Obama berates the high life of others, the more he feels he deserves it for himself.

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The Warning Trumpet

From David Solway:

A little while back, leaving the local “swimming hole” frequented by residents and summer tourists, I noticed a large group of dark-clad visitors sitting in a circle and solemnly keeping what appeared to be a meditative vigil. They had occupied a considerable space where others would normally pass on their way to one of the promontories leading to the river. They were obviously Muslims, probably an extended family, conspicuously observing the traditions of their native culture and, oblivious to their surroundings and the people who had to detour by an arduous route around them, preparing no doubt to face the Qiblah (direction to Mecca) and to devote themselves to prayer.

Just the other day, I had a similar experience. Since there are no facilities at the beach, swimmers often change out of their bathing suits into street clothes beside their cars, shielded by towels held by friends and intimates or strung between the open doors of their vehicles, an operation conducted in an atmosphere of courtesy defined by a mutual and studied disregard. I was assisting my wife in this delicate maneuver when three Muslim men emerged from the trail giving onto the parking lot. Soon they were trying to stare over and between the towels, mesmerized by the partially hidden lure of a woman in semi-undress. My wife had to enter the car and slide low into the front seat while I glared indignantly at the intruders. Then, as I was about to confront them — the odds were not in my favor, but so be it — they moved aside and, after a few moments, spread carpets on the grass margin a few yards away and ritually prostrated themselves in prayer — close enough that I had to be careful when backing the car out.

It was not violence, but it was a violation, a transgression of the norm, remarked by several others in the parking lot who were struck by so blatant an infringement of both common decency and shared space. These men clearly did not realize or, more likely, did not care that they were contravening the tacit agreement of reciprocal discretion that prevailed among us, whether friend or stranger. They were animated by a robust and incontestable sense of their own priority, a conviction of privilege that need not take into consideration the cultural usages and social expectations of those they had come to live among. The same goes for the band of votaries blocking a public route, heedless of the inconvenience caused.

Such behavior is patently different from the Muslim-inspired havoc and thuggery erupting in Canadian cities like Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, or in the municipal war zones of many European cities with sizeable Muslim populations. But it was nevertheless a visible presumption of specialness and of indifference to the conventions of ordinary civility.

Every immigrant group in this country has variously adapted to the heritage culture, integrating more or less seamlessly by the second generation. However, second-generation Muslims are increasingly being radicalized, some going off to fight with jihadist militias in the Middle East and Africa, others plotting terror attacks on the very country that has offered them freedom, health care, education and the opportunity to prosper.

The common denominator along this spectrum of cultural invasiveness is the sentiment of vested ascendancy and pre-eminence minus the obligation of having to earn them. It bespeaks the spirit of natural entitlement that goes hand in hand with Islam, and which is instinct throughout the Muslim holy book, in which the true believer is exalted as superior to all other people (see, e.g., Koran 3:110) and enjoined to conquer, enslave, tax and slay the kafir, or infidel, who rejects the dominion of the Prophet (see, e.g., Koran 4:89, 9:29, 33:50, 47:4, among numberless other ayat). The violence we have seen both everywhere in the Muslim world and everywhere immigrant Muslims reach a certain critical census in their host societies is the inevitable consequence of the inherent conviction of higher status and mandated predominance — even in comparatively innocuous situations like a ring of Muslims commandeering a public venue or three obtrusive men breaching without the slightest compunction or embarrassment a local standard of behavioral propriety.

“They feel entitled,” writes Daniel Greenfield, “that everything be done according to their cultural expectations.” Greenfield is referring to a group of Muslim asylum-seekers in the Italian hamlet of La Secca who have staged a demonstration, replete with flying furniture and slashed tires, to protest the cultural trauma of having to eat “monotonous” Italian food, a culinary insult of pasta with tomato sauce, bread and eggs, instead of being served the food of their own countries. A police official was not impressed. “There are thousands of Italians living in poverty and who aren’t even eating one meal a day, let alone two or three,” he said. The Muslim migrants were not impressed either; they demanded their due, a right pertaining to their faith and very being. Greenfield’s conclusion is apt: “They aren’t immigrating. They’re colonizing.” This is not only Italy’s problem. Think Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

How, some of us on this side of the Atlantic have begun to ask, have these people with their baggage of noisome and culturally vetted proclivities come to be among us? For years we have taken no notice, content to embrace the sedatives and platitudes of multiculturalism, until a moment comes when we are abruptly made aware and taken aback by an alien and unaccommodating presence, one that has been metastasizing for decades while we voluntarily turned a blind eye.

Even our officials in sensitive positions of power have surrendered their faculties of judgment and acuity to the subtle techniques of disinformation plied by Islamic propagandists. Of course, many, if not most, of our authorities are unforgivably ignorant about the movement they are dealing with, never having delved into the relevant texts, documents and scriptures, an intellectual crater that goes some way to explaining how the piquantly named “intelligence community” — CSIS, for example, the Canadian version of the CIA, and no less inept — could partner with Islamic organizations to promote current shibboleths like “understanding” and “good will” — euphemisms for appeasement and expressions of the social gospel of moral equivalence. Islamic colonization proceeds at all levels of national existence, from the domestic and parochial to the administrative and ministerial.

As Melanie Phillips in a recent talk pointed out, recycling a friend’s analogy, there is a tunneling factor at work on the model of Hamas. The tunnels stretch under the soil of another country and, suddenly, the terrorists “pop up,” seemingly out of nowhere. Phillips is scrupulous to clarify that she is not alluding to Muslim immigration as an overt military scheme carried out by bloodthirsty extremists, but the metaphor of Islam tunneling its way surreptitiously into and under the cultural terrain of Western civilization holds. In the words of Swiss parliamentarian Oskar Freysinger, Islam is “a dogma that is gnawing away at the pillars of our system of laws” — laws, we might add, both written and unspoken.

The two episodes with which I began this article may be regarded by many as trivial or minor; after all, coarse, aggressive or antisocial behavior is by no means exclusive to any single category of people. Still, during the three summers I have been visiting this stretch of the St. Lawrence, before eventually deciding to move here, these were the only times I have met with such assured intrusiveness — as if blithely incommoding others by occupying a communal space, or engaging in a show of public lasciviousness, were an unquestioned right, as if, in other words, the rights or prerogatives of others simply did not count.

I cite these occasions chiefly because they are of recent vintage, because they occurred in a rural area with little (though growing) experience of Islamic immigration, and because they are indicative phenomena, handsels of a future whose ramifications are starkly disquieting. Plainly, the events I recount are not in the same class of atrocities as having your head sawed off in the suburbs of London by a fanatic Muslim, as recently happened to an 82-year old woman tending her garden, and earlier to off-duty soldier Lee Rigby, but they are harbingers of an ideological and theological mindset that will inescapably manifest itself in this and other socially virulent forms. Indeed, I have had innumerable brushes over time, both personally and as a witness, with instances [6] of Islamic cultural expropriation, far too many to relate here. Some of these occasions were relatively serious: menacing phone calls following selected articles I wrote for this site as well as others, unsavory emails, and a physical assault by a traveling Palestinian who discovered that I was Jewish. I consider these incidents as merely part of my trade or, for that matter, as a function of my ethnic identity in a hostile and irrational world.

Nonetheless, what I find truly offensive as a citizen of a Western democratic state is the unwillingness of a substantial immigrant cohort to assimilate into the modes, manners and practices of the country that has graciously received it, but rather to insist that the host conform to the guest and accept his established views and rooted premises. Such people, fixed in their chronic orthodoxies, will not abandon their imported attitudes and presuppositions where these conflict with the staple usages of the majority. They refuse to monitor their fractious offspring seduced by the temptation of jihad (and to cease feigning astonishment when their treasonable acts come to light), to repudiate entirely the fraudulent and lethal notion of collective “honor” that bleeds into violence and guilty concealment, to stop treating women as servants and sexual commodities validated by the prescriptions of scripture or the assumptions of a primitive ethnology, and in general to respect the values of everyday conduct, legitimate assembly and consensual decency that enable a society to preserve its settled way of life.

Anyone with a modicum of perceptiveness must be cognizant by now that Islam is advancing its millennial agenda in two ways, that is, via a classic pincer movement: the tactic of terrorism, and the strategy of immigration as elaborated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the latter project an immensely powerful force owing to its stealthy and insidious nature, abetted by leftist and liberal sympathies and policies. By this time its cover should have been blown, and we must begin to speak out, to agitate for legislation to revise our immigration protocols, to reject outright the social camouflage of political correctness, to expose “outreach” and “interfaith” programs for the confidence games they are, to investigate the hotbed mosques spreading like bunkers throughout the land, and to lobby our congressional and parliamentary representatives to pass laws militating against the depletion of our welfare resources, the exploitation of our legal system to silence critics of Islam (known as “lawfare”), and the use of our human rights tribunals that deprive us of our…human rights.

It is obviously an uphill battle, not less because our politicians and political parties, themselves responsible for the immigration debacle, are deliberately trawling for votes among the burgeoning Muslim enclaves and boroughs. Yet it is equally obvious that failing such a reformation — or revolution — in our concessionary attitudes, the result will be that what we once took for granted as a social habitus founded on mutual recognition and a civic arena accessible to all will shrink to an uneasy and perhaps soon intolerable confinement in our own domain.

There is no longer any excuse for apathy, distraction or ignorance, for the evidence of our approaching dispossession is all around us. It is equally an affront and a tragedy to find ourselves colonized in our own land. To paraphrase the prophet Ezekiel (33: 2-6), those who hear the sound of the warning trumpet and do not take the warning, their blood shall be upon them. Regrettably, far too many of us still cannot or do not or will not hear the trumpet.

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Goodbye, my little boy

So this is where we part, My Friend,
And you’ll run on, around the bend,
Gone from sight, but not from mind,
New pleasures there you’ll surely find.

I will go on, I’ll find the strength,
Life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
Share one last look, before I grieve.

There are others, that much is true,
But they be they, and they aren’t you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
Will remember well all you’ve taught.

Your place I’ll hold, you will be missed,
The fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
Take with you this…I loved you best.

– Jim Willis